I was recently in Costa Rica on a vacation with family and friends when what seemed as a disaster occurred: the hotel did not have a gym. Being the fitness nut that I am, I was panicking. I am the kind of person who needs to exercise in order to relax and unwind. There is nothing like a good workout followed by a nice nap on the sand, am I right? So, here are five ways I found inner peace without a gy
1. Sand sprints
Make a mark in the sand about 50 yards from your staring point. Decide how many sprints you want to do in each set and how many sets you want to do (2-3 sets of 6 sprints was enough to get a solid sweat going). Then start at one end of the sand and run at a fast pace until you get to your end point. Rest for about 15-20 seconds. Continue this until you finish your set. In between sets you want to rest for a longer time period (about 2-3 minutes) to lower your heart rate before you start again. When you are finished with this workout you will certainly be ready to jump in the ocean and cool off, and it is the perfect way to start a day in tropical paradise. One of the best parts about this workout is you don’t even need shoes. Another benefit? It only takes about 20 minutes.
2. Run through the local streets
There is no better way to get to know the culture around you than running through town. You will be able to establish a sense of direction while getting an awesome workout. This also allows you to scout out restaurants, coffee shops, markets, and cool areas to further explore. I often like to start a vacation this way, as usually a 2-4 mile jog helps me familiarize myself with the area while getting a good sweat.
3. Yoga on the beach
This was truly a highlight of my trip to Costa Rica. There was nothing more relaxing than listening to the sounds of the waves and wildlife while I took myself through a Vinyasa flow. If you are lucky, the place you are staying may have their own instructor who can lead you through an hour-long meditation and strength session. If not, YouTube has a few amazing videos that can guide you through your practice. Namaste.
4. Hiking, Kayaking, or any Adventure Sports
I always need a little adventure mixed in with my vacation time. This also allows me to get a little bit of exercise in while I take in the scenery. Hiking and kayaking are incredibly rewarding ways to have a blast while staying fit and healthy.
5. Strength Training
Okay, wait. You guys are probably thinking how the heck do you strength train without a proper gym? Well, I used a few natural resources, such as heavy rocks and my own bodyweight, to keep my booty, arms, and legs tight and strong. Here are a few suggestions:
Boulder squats/ lunges: There were many medium-sized boulders that were scattered along the beach that I had access to throughout the vacation. I found a few that were the perfect size and weight to hold and squat/lunge with. If you don’t want to use a rock, using your body weight to squat is a totally cool alternative. So I grabbed my boulder and held it as I did 5 sets of 10 squats/lunge. This was enough to fire up my glutes!
Bicep Curls and Tricep Kick-backs: Grab two smaller rocks/ boulders and hold one in each hand. For bicep curls, begin with a slight bend in your arms. Bend your arms until your hands/rocks are almost to your armpits. For Tricep Kick-backs begin the same way as you would bicep curls. Pull your arms back about 5 inches while keeping your back straight and core tight. Repeat each exercise about 10-15 times depending on the heaviness of your rocks. I usually do about 3 sets of each exercise. To also get a leg workout at the same time, bend your knees like you are doing chair pose in yoga. Hold this position throughout the entire set for a nice quad and glute burn!
Push-ups, planks, sit ups: You can to these simple arm/ core exercises anytime, anywhere!
These workouts may seem a little odd while everyone else is lounging around the beach, but who cares? Take in the scenery and enjoy your workout. Actually, when I was doing these simple exercises, a few beach-goers even joined in on the fun. Who knows, maybe you’ll inspire someone to get movin’.
Well, those are my go to vacation workouts for all of you fitness buffs out there looking to stay strong and fit in paradise. Just don’t forget that you are actually on vacation and it is okay to take a break once an awhile. The gym will be there when you get back, I promise.